The value of a college education and specific colleges in America has been debated for many years. Some people feel that it isn’t worth the cost, while others believe that it’s an investment that will pay off in the long run. The college research site maintains a yearly ranking of the best colleges based on their value as an investment. The site uses several criteria, including yearly net price (the average cost after financial aid), graduation rate, median earnings six years after graduation, student-faculty ratio, and other factors. The result: The best colleges that offer the most bang for your tuition buck.
50. Molloy University
Molloy University is a great college for value in America, coming in at No. 50 on the Niche list. With an annual net price of just $27,454 and 94% of alumni employed within two years of graduation, it’s no wonder the school is so popular. Additionally, its 74% acceptance rate makes it a great choice for students looking for a safe and secure college campus (Niche ranks Molloy University No. 15 out of 1,310).
49. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
If you’re looking for an affordable, high-quality university, look no further than UNC Chapel Hill. With an annual net price of just over $10,000 and a 25% acceptance rate, this school is of great value. And according to Niche data, 94% of graduates are employed within two years of graduation. UNC-Chapel Hill also scores high marks in academics, diversity, campus life, athletics, party scene, professors, location, dorms, and student safety.
48. Massachusetts Maritime Academy
MMA is a great value college for those looking for quality education. With a net price of $17,635 and 95% of students receiving financial aid, it’s an affordable option for many. And, with median earnings six years after graduation at $86,600 and a 97% employment rate within two years, it’s a wise investment too.
47. University of Florida
According to Niche, the University of Florida has a net price of $10,075 and an acceptance rate of 31%. This college is located in Gainesville, Florida, and ranks sixth among public universities in America for 2023. It has a student-faculty ratio of 11:1. In addition, the University of Florida ranks first on Niche’s list of best college athletics in America.
46. Wake Forest University
Wake Forest University is a top-rated school located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It has a net price of $26,324 and is known for its strong academics, diverse student body, and excellent athletics program. The party scene is also very popular among students, and safety is a top priority on campus. graduates have impressive median earnings of $63,800 six years after graduation, and 94% are employed within two years of leaving school.
45. Lafayette College
Lafayette College is a great choice for students looking for quality education at an affordable price. With a net price of just $28,735 and a 9:1 student-faculty ratio, it’s no wonder this private liberal arts college is so popular.
44. Colgate University
Colgate University is a private institution located in Hamilton, New York. According to Niche data, the university has an average net price of $25,935 per year. The student-faculty ratio at Colgate is 9:1, and the average total aid awarded to students is $49,701 per year. A poll conducted by the university found that 96% of students believe their professors put a lot of effort into teaching classes.
43. Purdue University
Purdue University is located in West Lafayette, Indiana, and has a net price of $12,294. The school is known for its strong engineering program and alumni who are employed soon after graduation. According to Niche data, 95% of alumni were employed two years after graduation and 93% of students are confident they will find a job in their major after graduation.
42. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Illinois State University is a world leader in research and teaching. With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1 and a net price of $13,517, it provides an excellent education at an affordable price. Popular majors include research and experimental psychology, economics, accounting, and Greek life.
41. University of Wisconsin-Madison
Located in Madison, Wisconsin, this university has an 88% graduation rate, and 95% of alumni are employed within two years of graduating. With a net price of only $14,030, it’s a great value for your money.
40. Villanova University
Founded in 1842, Villanova University is a top-ranked Catholic college located in Pennsylvania. According to Niche data, 95% of its students are employed two years after graduation, and its net price is $38,303.
39. Michigan Technological University
Niche data shows that the net price of attending Houghton, Michigantech University is $17,356. What’s more, an impressive 99% of all students receive some form of financial aid, with the average total award coming in at $13,946 per year. No wonder the school ranked a solid 13th on Niche’s list of best U.S.
38. Bowdoin College
Located in the charming town of Brunswick, Maine, Bowdoin College is a top-ranked liberal arts college with a competitive 9% acceptance rate. The school’s net price is $25,622, making it an affordable option for many students. Niche ranks Bowdoin as the fourth-best college for liberal arts nationwide.
37. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology is located in Terre Haute, Indiana, and is one of America’s best small colleges. The net price for attendance is only $43,606 which makes it an affordable option for those seeking a quality education. Niche gave the school high marks in academics, professors, and student life.
36. California State University Maritime Academy
The state of California is home to many colleges and universities, but one that stands out as a great value is the Maritime Academy. This school’s annual net price is only $21,069, and it has a 12:1 student-faculty ratio – meaning that students get more individualized attention. Plus, the school offers majors in popular fields like marine science, mechanical engineering, and business.
35. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Looking for an esteemed college in Michigan? Look no further than the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor! With an annual net price to attend of just $17,832, this school is ranked No. 2 of 601 on Niche’s list of top public universities in America for 2023.
34. Hamilton College
Hamilton College is a great choice for students looking to get a quality education. With a net price of just $23,936, it’s an affordable option for many families. And, with median earnings of $60,200 six years after graduation, it’s clear that Hamilton College graduates are in high demand in today’s job market.
33. Wellesley College
Looking for a top-ranked women’s college in America? Wellesley College, located in Wellesley, Massachusetts, maybe the perfect fit for you. With a net price of only $21,614 to attend, it’s an affordable option for many students.
32. Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League school located in Ithaca, New York. It has a reputation for being prestigious and difficult to get into, with an acceptance rate of only 11%. But once you’re in, you’re set for life – the university has a 95% graduation rate, and 93% of its alumni are employed within two years of graduating. Plus, it’s ranked as the #1 U.S. college for agricultural sciences by Niche for 2023.
31. University of Virginia
This leading research university has a net price of just $19,043 and offers excellent academics, diversity, campus life, athletics, and more. Plus, it’s located in a beautiful historic city that is perfect for students. Whether you’re looking for a party scene or a safe and friendly environment to study in, the University of Virginia has it all!
30. John Hopkins University
John Hopkins University is a world-renowned institution based in Baltimore, Maryland. With an 11% acceptance rate, it is one of the most competitive colleges in America. However, students who are lucky enough to attend can expect to receive an excellent education. Johns Hopkins offers outstanding programs in public health and STEM disciplines, and graduates can expect to find well-paying jobs after graduation.
29. Boston College
If you’re looking for an affordable college with great academics and vibrant campus life, look no further than Boston College! With an annual net price of just $30,192, this school offers incredible value.
28. Columbia University
Columbia University in New York is an excellent choice for students looking to pursue a high-quality education. The school has a net price of $22,126 and an impressive 7% acceptance rate.
Niche data reveals that the median earnings for graduates six years after college is a whopping $83,300 per year.
27. Brown University
Located in Providence, Rhode Island, net price of $27,659, the Ivy League college has a student-faculty ratio of 7:1. Niche ranked the college as the No. 10 hardest to get into in America and it has an 8% acceptance rate.
26. Swarthmore College
Swarthmore College, located in Pennsylvania, is a highly selective private liberal arts college. With an acceptance rate of 9%, it is more difficult to get into Swarthmore than many Ivy League schools. However, it is also considered one of the best-value colleges in America, ranking higher than Brown University and Columbia University. Swarthmore is known for its strong programs in biology, economics, and information science.
25. Washington University in St. Louis
As a top-value college, Washington university in St. Louis offers students a lot to consider. The school’s net price of $27,233 and 4:1 student-faculty ratio make it an attractive choice for many students. In addition, the school’s routinely named by Niche as having one of the best college campuses. This year, it’s listed as No. 2 on the list of best college campuses. The institution earned high marks from Niche in the areas of academics, value, diversity, campus, athletics and party scene. It has a 16% acceptance rate.
24. Vanderbilt University
As Nashville’s Vanderbilt University continues to produce top-tier students, the future looks bright for its grads. According to data from Niche, 94% of Vanderbilt students are employed just two years after graduation, and the school boasts a 93% graduation rate. With an acceptance rate of only 12%, it’s no wonder Vanderbilt is ranked as the No. 1 college in the country for education by Niche.
23. Lehigh University
Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is a great place to get a college education. It has a net price of $29,098 and it earned high marks from Niche in the categories of academics, value, diversity, campus, athletics, and party scene. Lehigh University was ranked No. 17 of 829 on Niche’s list of best U.S. colleges for accounting and finance for 2023. It is also ranked No. 18 of 718 on Niche’s list of best Greek life schools.
22. Northwestern University
Northwestern University is one of the most prestigious schools in the United States, with an acceptance rate of 9%. The university is home to the Medill School of Journalism, which is widely respected. The net price of attendance at the school is $28,344, and 92% of alumni are employed within two years after graduation. Evanston, Illinois is a beautiful location for the university, and it ranks as the No. 1 college in America for communications according to Niche.
21. Washington and Lee University
Situated in the historic town of Lexington, Virginia, comes a university that boasts not only a beautiful campus and stellar academics, but also alumni who go on to achieve great things.
According to Niche data, the median earnings of students six years after graduation is an impressive $76,100 per year.
20. Colorado School of Mines
The University of Mines is a public research university that focuses on energy and the environment. It offers undergraduate and graduates degrees in engineering, science, and mathematics. Located in Golden, CO, the school has a 55% acceptance rate and provides financial aid to 90% of its students.
19. University of Notre Dame
Niche ranks Notre Dame as one of America’s top Catholic colleges for 2023. With a 19% acceptance rate, and high grades for academics, value, diversity, campus, and athletics, it’s no surprise that Notre Dame is near the top of this list.
18. Williams College
Founded in 1793, William College is a private liberal arts institution located in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The college is highly competitive, with an acceptance rate of just 15%. Additionally, the student-to-faculty ratio is 6:1, meaning students receive plenty of individualized attention. According to Niche, more than 60% of students at William College receive financial aid. The net price to attend the school is $22,356 per year.
17. Georgetown University
Georgetown University is one of the best colleges in the country for value. Niche rates the school highly for academics, diversity, and its lively party scene. With a 17% acceptance rate, Georgetown is a great choice for students looking for a top-tier education.
16. Dartmouth College
Dartmouth College is an elite institution located in Hanover, New Hampshire. With an acceptance rate of just 9%, it is one of the most competitive colleges in the country.
Dartmouth is known for its rigorous academic standards. In addition to its excellent value, the college also ranks highly in terms of diversity, athletics, and campus life.
15. Georgia Institute of Technology
The University of California, Berkeley is a world-renowned institution of higher learning that offers its students an excellent education at an affordable price.
According to Niche data, its net price is $17,410 a year.
The acceptance rate at the University of California, Berkeley is 21% and it was ranked No. 49 on the list of hardest colleges to get into for 2023.
The school, located in the city of Berkeley, California, often referred to as UC Berkeley, ranks No. 3 on Niche’s list of top public U.S.
14. Amherst College
Amherst College, located in Massachusetts, is a highly selective college with an acceptance rate of 12%. It is ranked as the 14th best-value college in the country by Niche data, with a net price of $18,832. 65% of students receive financial aid, making it accessible to many.
13. Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is a top choice for students looking for high-quality education at an affordable price. According to Niche, it is the No. 1 ranked college for information technology studies, No. 3 for design, and No. 4 for computer science.
12. Duke University
Duke University is one of the top-ranked universities in the United States, and it offers a great education at an affordable price. It is known for its high-quality athletics programs and public policy education. For 2023, it earned the title of No. 1 college for public policy in the United States from Niche. The esteemed institution has an 8% acceptance rate.
11. Pomona College
Pomona College is one of the best value colleges in America, based in Claremont, California. It has an annual net cost of $30,392 and is ranked highly by Niche in categories such as academics, diversity, and campus. The school has a 9% acceptance rate and is also named by Niche as the No. 2 liberal arts college in the country for 2023.
10. University of Pennsylvania
Niche recently ranked Pennsylvania University as tenth in value among American colleges. This Philadelphia-based Ivy League school boasts a nine percent acceptance rate and was also voted best college for business in 2023 by Niche users.
9. Claremont McKenna College
Claremont McKenna College is a highly selective college with an acceptance rate of just 13%. Located in Claremont, California, this private liberal arts college has a curriculum focused on international relations, public affairs, government, economics and finance. The annual net price for students to attend is $22,004.
8. Yale University
Yale University, located in New Haven, Connecticut, is a prestigious Ivy League school with an annual net price of $17,511. Niche data shows that median earnings six years after graduation for alumni is $83,200, and 92% of its graduates are employed within two years. Yale’s professors have been ranked as the best in America by Niche for two consecutive years, and its history program is also ranked at No. 1.
7. Rice University
Niche has ranked the top colleges for value and Rice University comes in at number seven. With an annual net price of just $19,215, it’s no wonder this Houston school is so popular. Niche also ranks Rice University as the number one college for physical therapy and number one in sports management for the upcoming school year.
6. Harvard University
Harvard University is one of the hardest colleges to get into in America, with an acceptance rate of just 5%. However, it is also one of the best value colleges, with an annual net price of only $18,037. The student-faculty ratio is 3:1, and alumni have a median earnings of $89,700 six years after graduation.
5. Princeton University
Princeton University is one of the most prestigious colleges in America, and it is also very affordable. With an annual net price of only $18,685 to attend, it is ranked as the 5th best value college in America by Niche.com. Additionally, 87% of Princeton alumni are employed within two years after graduation, and those who are working earn median salaries of $74,700 per year six years after graduation. It is also worth noting that Princeton University is extremely selective, with an acceptance rate of only 6% for students applying to enter the class of 2023.
4. Stanford University
Stanford University is one of the best value colleges in the country, with an annual net price of just $20,023. The school also has some of the best academics in the nation, according to Niche’s 2023 rankings. And despite not being part of the Ivy League,Stanford is one of the hardest colleges to get into in America, coming in at No. 2 on US News’ list.
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Niche reports that for 2023, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is ranked as America’s No. 3 best value college, with its $19,998 annual net price being an excellent deal. Furthermore, it is Niche’s No. 1 choice for engineering in light of its 7% acceptance rate and popular majors such as mathematics, computer science, and mechanical engineering.
2. Harvey Mudd College
Harvey Mudd College is one of the best value colleges in America. With an annual net price of $37,192 and median earnings for alumni six years after graduation of $88,800, it is a great investment. Additionally, with its 18% acceptance rate, it is also one of the best small colleges in America and holds the title of best liberal arts college in America for 2023.
1. California Institute of Technology
There are many great colleges in America, but none offer better value than California Institute of Technology. It has an annual net price of just $26,591, and students receive an average of $48,172 in financial aid each year.